Bias & Hate Crimes
The PA Human Relations Commission organizes the PA Interagency Task Force on Community Activities and Relations, a group of state agencies working to prevent and respond to civil tension and violence arising from conflicts between ethnic or cultural groups and public expressions of bias or hate.
The task force is made up of PHRC, the PA Attorney General’s Office and the PA State Police, working in conjunction with other state and federal agencies, community organizations, advocacy groups, local government and law enforcement agencies. The primary function of the group is to quickly and appropriately address civil tension when conflicts occur, and to promote positive community relations among various groups in order to prevent tension.
PHRC tracks reported bias-related incidents around PA in order to keep task force members and others informed. To report an incident to PHRC, please contact us at 717-787-4410.
If you are reporting a crime such as property damage or assault that you believe was motivated by bias, please contact your local police authorities or the PA State Police prior to reporting it to PHRC. A "hate crime," or charge of ethnic intimidation is a charge that can be added to criminal offenses involving criminal mischief or other property damage, or danger to a person, such as assault or terroristic threats, when the offense is motivated by hatred or bias toward certain group characteristics of the victim. Charging these offenses as a hate crime increases the penalties for the offense.
PA's ethnic intimidation statute describes these offenses in detail. Pennsylvania State Police and local police departments charge and investigate criminal offenses and the ethnic intimidation statute. PHRC does not charge or investigate hate crimes or criminal offenses. We track such incidents and inform the PA Interagency Task Force on Community Activities and Relations, so that community tensions can be avoided or properly addressed.
PHRC's Ann Van Dyke discusses hate crime in Philadelphia's SuburbanLife Magazine
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